Demons do it naturally…

Mark 5:1-20 (Read it here)

What a great passage… Particularly the last verse, verse 20. It reads: “And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

Here is a guy who could not be bound because of the many evil spirits living in him. He was living in a graveyard. He had ripped off any shackles and chains other people had used to try and subdue him with. All day and night he tortured himself – cutting himself with stones.  He was a mess.  He was possessed by many evil spirits.

HOWEVER! When he saw Jesus from afar (v6) – he ran to him and worshiped Him.  That’s crazy!

Did the thought ever occur to you that this was quite possibly the very first time this man had ever laid eyes on Jesus? If this man was living in the graveyard, ostracized by everyone, then it’s highly likely no one had ever told him about what Jesus was teaching or who Jesus claimed himself to be. He probably hadn’t heard that Jesus was performing miracles of healing and freedom.

But something in this man knew.

Something in this man knew Jesus.  Something knew his power, his authority, and his might. Something in this man revered Jesus and acknowledged his royalty. I believe that the evil spirits knew Jesus.  They also knew they were subject to him and were following protocol that they had observed and practiced millions of times in Heaven.

When in the presence of the King, you bow down and worship. See Phil 2:9-10.

Why don’t I follow the same protocol?

Why do I sometimes have difficulty doing what demons do naturally?  

OUCH!  That stung just writing it.

Jesus delivered him. Jesus freed him. Here was a man who had a brief encounter with Christ and was freed from a lifetime and lifestyle of bondage and harm.  Jesus changed him.  Jesus changed me.  Jesus can change anyone who submits to him.

When Jesus and the disciples were about to leave. The man begged to go with them. (v18)

How often do I do the exact same thing? When I have a life-impacting encounter with the Lord, how quickly I want to just tarry there and stay in his presence. But that’s not what we’re to do.

Jesus would not let him go with them.

v20 says “And he [the formerly demon-possessed man] departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”

He told his story and all marveled.

That’s it.  It’s that simple.  That’s all we have to do. Proclaim all that Jesus has done for us.  I tell my story.  You tell your story.

No person can argue, refute, or deny what one man had experienced.

We don’t have to be gifted orators or preachers or evangelists. We simply have to tell our own story.  I can’t tell yours.  You can’t tell mine.  We are the only ones who can tell our own story.

Tell your story.

Running after Papa…

Overcoming – Updated (Rev 12:11)

How do we REALLY overcome the power of sin in our lives? UPDATED…

How do we overcome the power of sin in our lives?

I was recently listening to “Overcome” by Jon Egan and the Desperation Band on the way home from my son’s Lacrosse game, when I was captured by one of the lyrics at the end of the song.  I’ve sung this song dozens of time, so it wasn’t a new song for me, but this time something clicked.  The repeated lyric is “And we will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome.”   Revelation 12:11 is the verse that bridge it taken from.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

I really began to ask the Lord about it.  So how do we overcome?  What is the significance of this verse?  How does the rubber meet the road and why?  (If you read my blogs very often, you’ll find that’s a very common question I ask…)

1. The blood of the Lamb

First things first… This is the fulfillment of God’s law.  This gives us the LEGAL RIGHT TO OVERCOME.  Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” When we’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are forever the possession of God himself.  There is MUCH that could be said here, but that’s for another day…  Here’s the meat of this post…

2. The word of their [our] testimony

This is gives us the POWER TO OVERCOME.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  We’re all familiar with Proverbs 18:21 “21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”  But for me, in getting to that verse, I’ve glossed over the prior one, verse 20.

Proverbs 18: 20-21 (NKJV) 20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

When those two verses are put together, we’re talking about a whole meal!  What we claim – the words that we speak – is what will fill our stomachs.  This is a very interesting picture as the stomach is essentially where digestion of our physical food begins after we eat.  “You are what you eat,”  is a saying we learned to help us make healthy choices of our meals.  How appropriate! So it is with the words we speak.  When we speak words, we listen to those words, we hear those words, we believe those words – we digest those words.  When we speak words of defeat over our lives, our character, our circumstances, our children, etc., etc., we begin digesting those words.  Those words “satisfy” our stomach and we continue to live in those things we believe.  “You are what you eat,” becomes much more like “You are what you speak.

It’s time to stop the madness! It’s time to begin confessing the words of life.  Even if it’s not evident yet, speak it.  For example,  “I was unhappy, but God has given me joy and helped me overcome. (Gal 5:22)” or “I was an angry man; but God has given me patience and helped me overcome. (I Cor 13:4)” or “I was afraid and let fear rule my circumstances, but God has given me a spirit of power, love and a sound mind and helped me overcome. (2 Tim 1:7)Speak what God has or is making you BASED on what HE says about you in his Word – the Bible.

Hear me… I am NOT advocating a “name it and claim it” theology.  God is NOT a Genie, but there is a “working out” of our salvation.  There is a process of transformation and I believe renewing our mind with the Word of God and what God says about us is part of that process.

The word of your testimony is what breaks the power of sin in your life, but only if you’ve been bought by the blood of the Lamb.

3. They died to themselves

… and they did not loves their lives to the death,” is how Rev 12:11 ends.  This is the MEASURE OF OVERCOMING!

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

I find this to be the most difficult verse in the Bible to really live out.  My wants, my desires, my needs, my expectations, my rights… and the list goes on.  If I’m offended, my flesh is probably alive.  If I am angry, my flesh is probably alive.  If I feel slighted, cheated, short changed, cut off, hindered, delayed or detained, my flesh is probably alive.

Only when I am fully dead to me, can I be fully alive in Christ.

THIS is overcoming defined!

So here are three questions for today’s take-away:

1.  Are you legally God’s? This is critical and the first thing and most important thing.  All eternity rides on the answer to this one.  Without #1, you can’t do #2.

2. What is God helping you overcome in your life? Speak it OUT LOUD! verbalize it!  Hear yourself say it audibly!

3.  What part of you do you need to die to? This IS the victory!

If you want to discuss the answer to any of these questions, email me at shoe@runningafterpapa.com.

Running After Papa…

Overcoming (Rev 12:11)

I was listening to Overcome by Jon Egan and the Desperation Band.  The following verse is a bridge that’s sung over and over in the song.  As I was worshiping, the words of this verse really came alive and began to speak to me.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So how do we overcome?

1. The blood of the Lamb

This is the fulfillment of the law of God that breaks satan’s legal right and claim to us.  And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. ”  (Heb 9:22, NKJV) When we’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are forever the possession of God himself.  There is much that could be said here, but that’s another post.

2. The word of their testimony

This is where we can break the power of sin the enemy holds over us.  This is where the rubber meets the road.

Proverbs 18: 20-21 (NKJV)

20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

What we claim – what we speak – is what will fill our stomachs.  Interesting picture as the stomach is essentially where digestion of our physical food begins after we eat.  So it goes with the words we speak.  When we speak words, we listen, we hear, we believe – we digest – those words.  “You are what you eat,” directly applies here!

It’s time to begin confessing the words of life.  Even if it’s not evident yet, speak it.  “I was a hypocrite, but God has helped me overcome.” or “I was an angry man; but God has helped me overcome.”  Speak what God has or is making you.

The word of your testimony is what breaks the power of sin in your life, but only if you’ve been bought by the blood of the Lamb.

1.  Are you legally God’s? This is critical and the first thing.  Without #1, you can’t do #2.

2. What is God helping you overcome in your life? Speak it OUT LOUD! verbalize it!  Hear yourself say it audibly!

Free Indeed (John 8:36)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV) So, how does Jesus set us free? …

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

How does Jesus set us free?

1 Peter 5:8 tells me that my enemy is relentless . He is continually after you and me.  His methods have not changed since The Fall.  He knows those “barbs” and those “hooks” he can toss out our way and when you or I respond or react or agree with them – BAM! He comes in like a flood.   He is the master deceiver.  John 8:44 tells us his native tongue is falsehood.  He is a liar.  That is who he is. So every morning when you and I wake up, our enemy is looking for some deception for us to grab ahold of; some falsehood of who we are; some fallacy saying that WHAT WE DID is WHO WE ARE; some cock-and-bull story about some bondage we’ll never shake, some addiction we’ll never kick, some fear we’ll never be rid of. ALL OF IT LIES.  He just wants you and me to agree with him on something.

Jesus said “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  Jesus said it. So I ask again… How does Jesus set you and me free?  Enter Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.(Gal 2:20, NASB)

Check this out. If I am dead. What power does my enemy hold over me? I am dead. What power does any thing hold over me? What power does any addiction, any fear, any bondage hold over me? None. I am dead.

That, my friend, is good news.

I was driving to our men’s Bible Study on Thursday morning knowing I was going to share the gist of this revelation during worship. I really began to contemplate and expound on the effects of being crucified… of being dead to myself.

Dead men…

  • … don’t have any rights to get stepped on
  • … don’t have any expectations to go unmet
  • … don’t have any fears to bind them
  • … can’t worry about yesterday, today or tomorrow
  • … can’t compare their lives to those around them
  • … can’t carry the weight of the world
  • … can’t believe the lies of the enemy

… and as I was enumerating this list, God said something kinda funny but poignant.  He said that dead men can’t believe the lies of the enemy because “DEAD MEN CANNOT HEAR” and I kinda laughed, but realized that is HUGE!  This is a big deal because not only is my enemy a LIAR, when I am dead – I CANNOT HEAR HIS LIES.

This is a really great litmus test.  If I am responding to my enemy’s relentless attack, their lies about who I am, or what I will or will never be, etc., etc.  – then SOME PART OF MY FLESH HAS CRAWLED OFF THE CROSS.

I have more thoughts stirring on this… stay tuned.

Running After Papa…

Deaf (Gal 2:20)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.(Gal 2:20, NASB)

As I was driving to G8 this morning knowing I was going to share the gist of yesterday’s post, I was really contemplating the effects of being crucified… being dead to myself.

Dead men…

  • … don’t have any rights to get stepped on
  • … don’t have any expectations to go unmet
  • … don’t have any fears to bind them
  • … can’t worry about yesterday, today or tomorrow
  • … can’t compare their lives to those around them
  • … can’t carry the weight of the world
  • … can’t believe the lies of the enemy

… and as I was enumerating this list, God said something kinda funny but poignant.  He said that dead men can’t believe the lies of the enemy because “dead men can’t hear” and I kinda laughed, but realized that is HUGE!  This is a big deal because not only is my enemy a LIAR, when I am dead – I CANNOT HEAR HIS LIES.

This is a good test.  The devil and his minions are always lying about me, who I am, how I will be, what I will or will never be, etc.  When I can hear the lies – then SOME PART OF MY FLESH HAS CRAWLED OFF THE CROSS.

Daddy, may I always be deaf to the lies of my enemy and my spirit be in tune with yours.

Free Indeed (John 8:36)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

How does this happen? How am I free “indeed”?

Our enemy is relentless (1 Peter 5:8). He is continually at us. He is the master deceiver. John 8:44 tells us his native tongue is falsehood. That is who he is. So every morning when we wake up, our enemy is looking for some deception for us to grab hold of; some falsehood of who we are; some fallacy saying that who we WERE is who we ARE; some cock-and-bull story about some bondage we’ll never shake, some addiction we’ll never kick, some fear we’ll never be rid of. ALL OF IT LIES.

Jesus said “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus said it. So I ask again… “How?” Enter Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.(Gal 2:20, NASB)

Check this out. If I am dead. What power does anyone hold over me? What power does any thing hold over me? What power does any addiction, any fear, any bondage hold over me? None. If I am no longer alive, then I have no more worries to haunt me, no more fears to paralyze me, no more rights to be stepped on, no more expectations to be let down, no more LIES to BELIEVE.

That, my friend, is good news.